I just purchased a hard drive dock to read a hard drive that I have had for a while. When I try to open the HD, a dialog windpw pops up telling me I have to format the HD first. I know that would erase everything on the drive. The operating system is Windows 7.
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i would see if someone you know has a usb to ide or usb to sata depending on the age of your drive and see if you can get windows to read it without formating it. if not if your mb still had an ide header then any local radio shack or computer store will have a ide cable that you could plug the drive in and just place it on a piece of wood till you got the data off the drive.
I took this hard drive out of the computer a couple of years ago and no longer even have the computer. I was having problems with the computer but do not know if the problems were hard drive related or not. The old computer had Windows XP on it.